Posted September 22, 2009 2:09 pm by with 7 comments

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All right, folks. Raise your hands if you haven’t received a scam email from someone purporting to be either Nigerian or a Nigerian governmental-type person. (Don’t worry, I won’t ask whether you fell for it.) The practice has gone on for so long, I sort of figured Nigeria didn’t care. (Then again, what were they going to do, issue a press release? An FAQ on That helps.)

125px-Flag_of_Nigeria.svgTurns out, they do—or at least, they might. The story is so strange that even Michael Masnick of TechDirt, who covers all kinds of bizarre legalities, isn’t sure whether to believe it.

The Vanguard, apparently a Nigerian news site, reports on the official government statement by Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili:

Nigeria remains a major investment destination and a country where most businesses thrive in trust, good faith, competence and integrity. . . .

Nigeria also demands an unconditional apology from Sony Corporation for this deliberate negative campaign against the country’s image and reputation.

The apology must be given the same measure of publicity by Sony Corporation in all channels where the unfortunate adverts were aired.

In the light of the above, the Federal Government of Nigeria requests Sony Corporation to immediately withdraw that advertisement from circulation.

Here’s the offending ad:

Uhhh HUH. So after all that Nigerians and individuals posing as Nigerians have done to defame the country’s reputation and integrity, Nigeria is demanding an apology for a commercial that says, “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Otherwise I’d be a Nigerian millionaire by now.” (Should descendants of WWI vets be offended? Because another commercial in the campaign has the punchline, “That’s how WWI got started.”)

Masnick says that it’s so bizarre it almost seems like Sony’s coordinating this as part of their campaign. What do you think? Is this for real, or a publicity stunt—and if so, is it a stunt for Nigeria or Sony?

  • It looks like something that would come from a government rep too full of himself…so I don’t think it’s a stunt. It is pretty funny though.
    .-= Rod Macbeth´s last blog ..The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Cups of Coffee =-.

  • Having done legitimate business with a Nigerian enterprise, I do realize how badly Nigeria’s name has been spoilt all these years making it extremely difficult for legitimate businesses to grow outside from that country.

    I think the end to this has to start from somewhere, and probably this is it..
    .-= Anand Srinivasan´s last blog ..Why Business Professionals Use Social Media =-.

  • Granted the comment wasn’t all that fair – I’ve had those silly e-mails from various countries as it were, but yes the majority are from people in “Nigeria”, and who says the people who write them are from/in Nigeria anyway?
    But at the same time… it’s a passing comment that I would have not really noticed if i wasn’t looking out particularly for that phrase. It doesn’t outright say anything awful. Who believes what adverts say completely anyway?
    .-= Luci´s last blog ..How Can Videos Improve Your Website And Your SEO? =-.

    • Especially when another commercial in this same campaign uses the line “You can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. That’s how World War I got started.”

  • vona

    All this 4!( crap has really hurt NIgeria in the west. So no, its not a joke. How is it so hard to see that all the defamation is really hurtful to the country success. Alot of those letters dont actually come from NIgeria. alot come from eastern europe.

    Did you also know the 66% of cyber crime is from the united states. So while the west ruin Nigerias reputation going on about it all the time, The united states is robbing people blind.

    thats my 2 cents. A little consideration from the white man.

  • Nice find, Jordan. I like how Professor Akunyili “demands an unconditional apology.” That’s just rich.

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